Franklin Center’s After-School Club Provides More Than Just Fun

With the new movie Dungeons & Dragons movie in theaters, Honor Among Thieves, the game could be spiking in popularity again. But new players beware. According to The New York Times: the game, “is hugely complex and deeply immersive, demanding of its players an almost scholarly commitment to learning its history, its rules and its mythology.” 

Scholarly commitment! That sounds intimidating.

Not for Franklin Enrichment students. Dungeons & Dragons is one of the more popular clubs offered in the after-school program of Franklin Center, a multi-service organization focused on the neurodiverse community.

“We offer it as a club because it aligns with our students’ interests and it also builds skills,” says teacher Colleen Farley. “D&D provides a lot of structure, so players have support when interacting with each other. It’s a great way to foster teamwork, collaboration, building confidence, and creative problem-solving.”

Created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, the game involves collaborative roleplay, with players taking on characters who go through a wide variety of perilous adventures.

Beyond the fun, D&D offers a host of researched benefits, which explains why it’s used in many types of therapy as well as other settings, from classrooms to the workplace:

  • Developing language and communication skills
  • Gaining perspective
  • Increasing empathy and creativity
  • Strengthening critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Building teamwork 
  • Increased confidence in social settings
  • Reduced fear of making mistakes
  • Enhanced decision-making

“Like many of the clubs and all our Camp Franklin offerings, Dungeons & Dragons is more than an activity,” says Trapp. “At Franklin we always focus on the “and” – learning and making friends, solving problems and building confidence. Even though the wizards and dungeon masters and dragons might make it seem pure fantasy, D&D and others like it pack a lot of learning into a game.”